Hex Wives #5 // Review
A group of suburban housewives is beginning to suspect something strange about themselves as their husbands carry on a bit more frantically than usual about shady business in the fifth issue of Hex Wives. Writer Ben Blacker reveals a turning point in the lives of amnesiac witches in an issue manifested into the visual by artist Mirka Andolfo with colors by Marissa Louise. The series reaches a satisfying early crescendo as each of the witches begin to understand aspects of the larger world in which they live. Explosive aggression is just around the corner in otherwise placid suburbia.
Izzy is understanding a bit more about her power. Open just a bit of her own blood and there doesn’t seem to be much of any limit to what she might do. The other day while putting clothes out to dry in the yard she started to fly a bit. And when she casually lifted the refrigerator she was simply disgusted by how filthy it had gotten underneath the massive appliance. Hushed whispers between Izzy and her spiritual sisters reveals that each one of them is beginning to become acquainted with certain powers. Nadi seems animated by anger. And the cats simply WON’T stop talking to Damina. It’s only a matter of time before some of the men start to notice all the strange goings-on.
In a fun fifth issue, Blacker ties together all of the little hints and clues that he’s been littering the lives of Izzy and her friends. Subtle dramatic tensions are contrasted against the joy of discovery of the supernatural in a very peaceful domestic suburbia. Izzy is quietly heroic at the center of the ensemble like the one coaxing the rest of them into some sort of action that might reveal deeper mysteries. Given all the ways in which a chapter like this could have gone wrong by revealing too much too soon, Blacker cleverly crafts a story with just the right amount of reveal.
Andolfo gives the detailed domestic atmosphere a very earthbound magical realism until everything explodes quite dramatically at issue’s end. Little plaintive gestures towards the great magic peak and prod their way through an issue that pits discovery of power against the steady panic of those who have tried to imprison it. Over the course of the four issues leading into this one, Izzy’s emotional intensity has gradually developed a casually dazzling confidence that conjures subdued heroism on her part. It makes the climax at issue’s end that much more believable while giving the book a very strong emotional connection. The last four pages are immersed in shadowy ink and explosiveness of rich, angry colors. Prior to this, Marissa Louise washes over the domesticity with greens and blues and teals that make the climax at issues’ end that much more potent.
Tension is maintained throughout the issue until the end. With all the secrets finally out in the open, the final three pages set-up a vivid confrontation which should make for a suitably dramatic end to the series’ first 6 issues. Precisely where Blacker and Andolfo take it from there is going to be interesting to see. A series so deeply entrenched in the mysteries of domestic incarceration might suffer a bit with all of the secrets out in the open unless Blacker can find something compelling for the series to transition into in issues to come.